100 Free (and Cheap) Summer Fun Ideas in KC

2019 Edition

Every parent loves to find ways to stretch the family budget while making the most of summer break. KC Parent is here to help!

50+ Ideas for FREE Fun in KC

  1. Attend a Festival! We have your Guide to KC's Spring Festivals (April & May) AND KC's Summer Festival Guide (June-Aug).
  2. Participate in a summer reading program at your local library
  3. Watch a free movie in the park, all on KCParent.com's calendar.
  4. On the first Saturday of the month through the summer, visit Shoal Creek Living History Museum a 1850s village that comes to life with food and craft vendors, family activities and demonstrations.
  5. Play at Crown Center’s free Adventures of Clifford the Big Red Dog Exhibit June 8-22..
  6. Attend a free family fun night on Thursdays in June and July at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop.
  7. Enjoy FREE rental of a canoe, paddle boat, or bicycle and enjoy the beautiful 22-acre lake and trail at Legacy Park in Lee's Summit.
  8. Enjoy Independence Missouri's FREE Popsicles in the Park on Tuesdays.
  9. Explore the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Admission is free, there is a fee for parking. You may park for free on the street, or the free lot at 45th and Rockhill Rd.
  10. Play at one of the best parks in Kansas City.
  11. Ride the KC Streetcar and participate in our KC Streetcar Scavenger Hunt
  12. Get a great view of Kansas City from City's Hall's Observation Deck.
  13. Take a tour of the Roasterie and learn about coffee.
  14. Go fishing.
  15. Splash and play at a Kansas City area sprayground.
  16. Stroll through Kauffman Memorial Gardens.
  17. Create a masterpiece at Kaleidoscope.
  18. Play “I Spy” at Lakeside Nature Center.
  19. Marvel at modern art at the Nerman Museum, where admission is free.
  20. Pack a picnic and explore one of the city’s best picnic spots.
  21. Feed apples and carrots to bison and elk at the Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure.
  22. Watch as marbles are made at Moon Marble.
  23. Stop and smell the roses at Loose Park.
  24. Spend a first Friday in the Crossroads.
  25. Take a tour of the Kansas City, MO, City Hall.
  26. Hike at Ernie Miller Nature Center.
  27. Build a free project at Home Depot on select Saturdays.
  28. Watch model trains at the KC Rail Experience at Union Station.
  29. Photograph friends in front of one of Kansas City’s 200 fountains.
  30. Get free money at the Money Museum.
  31. Hike Monkey Mountain and other great trails.
  32. Bring binoculars for bird watching at Burroughs Audubon Nature Center.
  33. Visit the Lee’s Summit Railroad Museum and explore Downtown Lee’s Summit.
  34. Learn about the Santa Fe Trail at Cave Springs Nature Center.
  35. Discover the waterfall at Parkville Nature Sanctuary.
  36. Bike Trolley Trail.
  37. Attend a free summer concert.
  38. Sample a homemade potato chip at Price Chopper at 151st & Metcalf.
  39. Take a free class at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center.
  40. Stroll near a Kansas City area waterfall.
  41. Enjoy hands-on exhibits at Prairie Park Nature Center.
  42. Discover Kansas’ most famous residents through the artwork at Legends Outlets.
  43. Learn about nature at the Anita Gorman Discovery Center.
  44. Imagine you’re in the Wild West at Antioch Park.
  45. Get a great view of the city at Rooftop Park on top of the building that houses Cosentino’s Market in the KCP&L District.
  46. Visit the free National Archives of Kansas City and learn about local history through their exhibits.
  47. Attend a free outdoor show at Gladstone’s Theater in the Park showing 42nd Street (July 5-7) and Tarzan (Aug. 2-4).
  48. Enjoy outdoor theater at Leawood Stage Company’s free showing of Kiss Me Kate (July 11-14, 18-20).
  49. Visit the Hallmark Visitors Center.
  50. Discover a masterpiece at the free Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
  51. Hike the trails at the F.L. Schlagle Library and nature center in Kansas City, KS.
  52. And remember to search Free Events on our Kansas City calendar, where there are free (and cheap) things to enjoy every day.

TWENTY IDEAS $5 or less per Person

  1. Sign up for free bowling with www.KidsBowlFree.com or free roller skating at www.KidsSkateFree.com. Shoe and/or skate rental fees still apply.
  2. Ride the KC Northern Railroad, just 75 cents on Saturdays and Sundays, May - September.
  3. Step back in time at Shawnee Town 1929.
  4. Explore the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.
  5. Learn about gardening at the Beanstalk Children’s Garden.
  6. Tour the Truman Home in Independence and learn about President Harry S. Truman.
  7. Visit the Overland Park Arboretum (note: admission is FREE on Tuesdays).
  8. Tour the Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and learn about the 1860s woolen mill and grist mill.
  9. Share a Skyscraper at Winstead’s.
  10. Imagine and play at the all new KidScape at the Johnson County Museum.
  11. Feed animals at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Admission is $3/person (free after 2pm on Monday thru Thursday).
  12. Really hot outside? Treat the kids to a snow cone at Tropical Sno or Kona Ice food trucks at local attractions.
  13. Visit the Shawnee Indian Mission and learn about the school attended by boys and girls from Shawnee, Delaware, and other Indian nations from 1839 to 1862
  14. Bowl at Aaron’s Family Fun Center in Belton on Mondays when bowling is $1 per game and $1 for shoe rental from 3-9pm.
  15. Taste test every flavor of Ice Cream at KC's Best Ice Cream Shops until you find your favorite.
  16. Participate in a stargazing event on Saturdays at Powell Observatory and look at the night sky through the largest telescope in the region.
  17. Learn about Kansas’ farming heritage at the fun and interactive National Agricultural Hall of Fame.
  18. Buy a slushie or ice cream cone at Quik Trip.
  19. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Scheels for $1.
  20. Go swimming! Most local pools and swim beaches are affordably priced. Find them all in our KC Water Fun Guide.

THIRTY Ideas $10 or less per Person

  1. Dine out and take advantage of Kids Eat Free deals.
  2. Head to a local Farmers Market and stock up on fresh produce and locally made goods.
  3. Learn about the night sky at a show at the Gottlieb Planetarium at Union Station.
  4. Visit Powell Gardens and explore this summer’s Big Backyard exhibit.
  5. Get the wiggles out with a day of play at Urban Air Trampoline Park in Overland Park.
  6. Come face to face with big cats at Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary.
  7. Visit Missouri Town 1855 and learn about the lifestyle of the area’s earliest settlers.
  8. Take a wagon ride aboard Pioneer Trails Adventures and learn the history of Independence, Missouri.
  9. Pick berries at a local U-Pick Farm (you set your budget, but you’ll likely spend at least $10) all found on KCParent.com’s Berry Picking Guide.
  10. Swim at a local outdoor pool or beach found on our guide.
  11. Watch outdoor theater at Shawnee’s Theatre in the Park.
  12. Learn about Kansas City’s baseball heritage at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
  13. Attend a puppet show and make a finger puppet at the Puppetry Arts Institute.
  14. Celebrate Kansas City’s jazz roots with a visit to the American Jazz Museum.
  15. Tour the Strawberry Hill Museum and learn about immigrants from Eastern Europe.
  16. Enjoy a little “winter in the summer” and enjoy indoor ice skating at Centerpoint Community Ice.
  17. Visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and learn about 33rd President of the United States.
  18. Catch a movie at the Extreme Screen at Union Station.
  19. Visit the KU Natural History Museum and see live-animal exhibits, the famous Panorama and displays of fossils and Kansas wildlife.
  20. Rent a pedal boat at Shawnee Mission Park.
  21. Tour the John Wornall House Museum or Alexander Majors Home and learn about Kansas City’s earliest citizens.
  22. Admission to the Kansas City Zoo is less than $10 for Jackson and Clay County residents, and FOTZ members enjoy unlimited admission all year long.
  23. Young children can play at Little Monkey Bizness.
  24. Visit the National World War I Museum and Memorial on Wednesdays when admission is discounted.
  25. Miniature golf at Smiley’s Golf.
  26. Let the kids play and jump at the indoor inflatable facility at Jump City in Belton.
  27. Camp at a local state park, where tent camping is especially affordable.
  28. Jump at Skyzone indoor trampoline park.
  29. Enjoy miniature golf, gokarts, arcade games, the foam factory, and other attractions at Paradise Park.
  30. Treat the family to a matinee at the local movie theater.


And search Events on our Kansas City calendar, for even more fun things to enjoy every day.

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